Meaning of Work

What is Work:

As work we call the set of activities that are carried out with the objective of reaching a goal, solving a problem or producing goods and services to meet human needs.

The word work comes from the Latin tripaliāreand this in turn of tripalĭumwhich was a kind of yoke to whip slaves in the Roman Empire.

Over time, the use of the word was extended to refer to an activity that caused physical pain and was associated with work in the fields, but its use was extended to other human activities.

Thanks to work, the human being begins to conquer his own space, as well as the respect and consideration of others, which also contributes to his self-esteem, personal satisfaction and professional fulfillment, without counting on the contribution he makes to society.

The meaning of work has approaches in various areas, such as economics, physics, philosophy, etc.

work in physics

In physics, work is a scalar physical quantity that is used to measure the energy required to apply a force during a certain displacement time.

This magnitude is represented by the letter W (for English work) and is expressed in units of energy known as Joules (J). It is calculated using a formula, which is the multiplication of the force by the displacement.

T= F. d

Work can be a positive or negative number, since for work to be positive the force must act in the direction of the displacement, and for it to be negative, the force must be exerted in the opposite direction.

In this sense, the work can be divided into:

  • zero work: which is when the work is equal to zero.
  • engine work: which is when the force and displacement are in the same direction.
  • tough work: which is the opposite of motor work, that is, when force and displacement are in opposite directions.

See also Work in physics.

work in economics

For the economy, work is the number of hours that a person dedicates to carry out an activity of a productive nature, such as the generation of goods or services.

Work can be of two types:

intellectual work

It is any activity that is the result of the inventiveness and ideas of a person and that does not require physical effort. For example, the work of an advertising creative, a writer or a scientific researcher.

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Physical work

It is any productive activity that requires physical or manual skills, such as work in the fields, construction, mechanics, etc.

work and employment

work and employment

Work and employment are not always interchangeable synonyms. Work is a task that does not necessarily give the worker an economic reward.

An example of the above is the current debate in some countries about the feasibility of paying for housework, considering that it requires the execution of multiple tasks, and that it is an activity that generates a positive impact on society.

Employment, for its part, employment is a position or position that an individual occupies in a company or institution, where their work (physical or intellectual) is duly remunerated.

The concept of employment, in this sense, is much more recent than that of work, since it emerged during the Industrial Revolution.

See also Employment.

Autonomous work

Self-employment or independent work is one in which an individual carries out his activity as a free professional, that is, he is not linked or subject to any company.

In general, self-employment is carried out by people who work in commercial or business activities. It is also known by the English term freelancer.

See also Freelancing.


work, telework

As teleworking is known that activity that a person performs outside the facilities of the company for which he provides services.

Today, the advancement of information and communication technologies has allowed teleworking to become one of the modalities increasingly implemented by companies, since in many cases it translates into a reduction in expenses, a lower investment in equipment and in some cases, a simplification of processes.

Slave labor

Slave labor is designated as a form of forced labor that is illegal. It is a type of work that is not paid or is insufficiently paid, in which the worker is exploited, mistreated and his freedom and rights are restricted.

Slave labor is based on the old model in which people were forced to perform multiple tasks (almost always involving the use of physical force) with little or no incentive in return to survive; all this was usually done under torture and mistreatment.

Although slave labor is supposed to be prohibited throughout the world, people and organizations that promote this type of illegal activity continue to be denounced, especially in economically depressed countries or areas.

See also Slave.

child labor

Child labor is that carried out by children and adolescents who are below the legal minimum age allowed to work, according to the legislation of each country.

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Despite being prohibited, child labor is still practiced in some countries where, as a consequence of situations of poverty and scarcity, children are forced to work to survive or to help support their families.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), child labor involves:

  • That it is dangerous and that it can threaten the physical, mental or moral integrity of the minor.
  • That interferes with your schooling process, either because you are forced to drop out of school, or because the amount and type of work prevents you from fulfilling your school obligations.

Labor Day

Labor Day, also called International Workers’ Day, is a commemorative date in which the labor struggles and demands reached by the world labor movement are remembered. It is celebrated almost all over the world every first of May.

The date is a form of tribute to the “Chicago Martyrs”, a group of workers who died in the United States while protesting the reduction of working hours.

Curiously, in the United States, the place that gave rise to this commemoration, Labor Day is not celebrated on May 1, but on the first Monday in September (Labor Day).

See more about Labor Day.

Voluntary work

Volunteer work is that which a person does without receiving any kind of compensation for it, just for the satisfaction of helping others.

This type of work is often associated with various social causes, such as those carried out by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other non-profit institutions, in which people must be willing to work without receiving remuneration in return. It is very common among college students.

Nowadays, there are many causes that it is possible to join as a volunteer worker, such as children in vulnerable situations, caring for the environment, rescuing abandoned animals, caring for the elderly, etc.


As teamwork, it is called the one that a group of people performs in a coordinated and collaborative manner, to achieve a goal or solve a problem.

It is a way of working where functions are distributed among team members to develop tasks together in a faster, more effective and efficient way.

It is essential in the organizational field, as well as in various sports, such as soccer, basketball or volleyball, where everyone contributes to achieve common goals.

See also Teamwork.

Collaborative work

Collaborative work

Collaborative work is one that is carried out thanks to the participation of a group of people oriented to achieve a common goal.

It is a type of work carried out simultaneously and decentralized by a group of experts or connoisseurs, who put their knowledge at the service of the project. There is not, therefore, an exclusive author.

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This way of working applies, above all, information and communication technologies (ICT).

See also Collaborative work.


A work plan consists of organizing a series of activities to carry out a task.

It is a management tool that allows prioritizing, ordering, and systematizing the steps necessary to complete a project, as well as establishing a work schedule, distributing responsibilities, and defining objectives.

It is a very useful tool in organizations, since it facilitates decision making.

See also Work Plan.

Academic works

The academic works are the tasks that are required of the students who attend university educational institutions, and that intend to develop the critical spirit and the intellectual capacity of the students.

They can be exclusively written and must be submitted for teacher evaluation. Many academic papers require an oral presentation before an audience.

There are different types of academic work, for example, theses, monographs, articles or papersreports, reviews, essays, among others.

Field work

We speak of field work in reference to that which is carried out outside the office or laboratory, in the place where a phenomenon or process takes place.

Field work is made up of all those notes, observations, drawings, photos, data collection or samples that are taken in the field where an investigation is being carried out. It is a term associated with the natural and social sciences.

See also Fieldwork.

Social work

Social work is a discipline that is responsible for promoting changes in the social order, solving problems in human relations and strengthening people and groups to increase their well-being.

The duties of a social worker include:

  • The articulation of networks between people and various social organizations.
  • Stimulate the social participation of citizens.
  • Guide communities to establish mechanisms for peaceful conflict resolution.


As labor is known the set of events that occur to lead to the birth of a baby.

Labor begins with cervical dilation and ends with delivery of the placenta. It can be spontaneous or induced, that is, it can evolve naturally or it can be controlled by the doctor, when he intervenes with a series of techniques that ensure delivery.

In this sense, the birth of the baby can occur naturally, vaginally, or it can occur through an extraction surgery, called a cesarean section.

This process is also called “labor.”